If only for their hair and makeup, John Galliano's ragtag boy tribes often have an element of the living dead about them, so it wasn't necessarily a shock when he took on Frankenstein for his latest collection. Of course, in the hands of fashion's mad scientist, the effect was less monster than Munster, as increasingly cartoonish looks stalked the catwalk.
There were hints of things to come when the gantries that lined the runway sizzled into life with showers of sparks, but scary creatures initially took a backseat to sharply tailored gents in shiny sharkskin suits and python-printed trenches. A purple coat with a chiffon back was a typical Galliano exit-maker. It was followed by an incongruous posse of surf bums en masse, a reminder of Galliano's swimwear range. Then the designer unspooled his final delirious passage of hell-bound Teddy Boys. They started out smart in their frock coats, sequined denims, leopard-print shirts, and brothel creepers, but faster than you could say "Transylvanian twist," they were transformed into rockabilly ghouls, with natty quiffs exploding into ratty beehive hairdos.
By show's end, young Canadian catwalk star Owen Steuart wasn't wearing much more than the ruins of a pair of leopard 'n' denim cutoffs. Of course, it's part of Galliano's genius that there is someone somewhere who will crave this very item. And even if the overall effect was a little too Rocky Horror for most of us, it was nevertheless the kind of mad treat that the fashion press needed at this stage in the biannual trans-Europe trek.